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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Why am I always so cold?

As we grow older, we are likely to ask ourselves the questions, “Why am I so cold? What does it mean?” Chances are, your body is merely going through a natural dip in metabolic rate due to the aging process. A lowered metabolic rate affects the body’s ability to maintain what is considered a “normal” temperature of 98.6 degrees. When metabolism slows, so does the body’s ability to generate heat. This means seniors can become chilly or downright cold in the summertime or even inside during winter with the heater on.

There are other reasons a senior may be unduly cold. Encourage them to seek medical advice in order to properly diagnose the reason they are unable to stay warm. Hypothyroidism and cardiovascular disease are chronic medical conditions that affect body temperature, as well. If the senior determines the possibility of an underlying medical condition, help them take necessary steps to manage it accordingly. It is important to note that, regardless of the reason, the body’s inability to stay warm can lead to hypothermia if body temperature reaches 95 or below. Some frail seniors are more susceptible to hypothermia even when the room temperature is 71-75 degrees.

Whether being cold is the result of slowed metabolism or a medical condition, older adults must stay warm to maintain an appropriate body temperature. Nearly half of the elderly who develop hypothermia die from its effects. Therefore, Comfort Keepers® suggests that sweaters should be staples for men and women alike. While they should not bundle up so much that they overheat, keeping a cozy blanket nearby may help a senior during times of low activity in the home. Cover a senior’s head with a cap or scarf when going outdoors. Gloves on their hands are a must during cold months. Enjoy large meals during cold weather as the digestive process generates heat within the body. Warm drinks such as hot chocolate can help. Avoid alcoholic beverages as they cause the body to lose needed heat.

With a little education one can determine which changes are part of the natural process of aging versus changes that may indicate an underlying condition that may require medical attention. The key to aging gracefully is to know what changes seniors may experience as they grow older and how they affect the body. While one may not be able to prevent some of these changes, one can be prepared. Encourage your senior loved one to be aware of their body, its signals and transitions. By spending time with them, you can be more aware of these changes, too. Make adjustments as needed to ensure their health, happiness, and independence for as long as possible.

To read more articles like this, click HERE. This article taken from the Comfort Keepers corporate website.

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